Calgary

'Net-zero' shipping container home being built in eco-friendly Calgary community

An Alberta home developer is building its first shipping container home in northwest Calgary.

'It’s a lot like Tetris,' says homeowner

This shipping container home is being built in northwest Calgary. (CBC, 3Leafs)

An Alberta home developer is building its first shipping container home in northwest Calgary.

On Wednesday, a crane lowered four sea cans into place in EchoHaven, an eco-friendly development in Rocky Ridge where none of the homes have natural-gas services.

"It's a lot like Tetris, moving all the pieces in the right place," said homeowner Jaime Turner, who chose the project "to offer my daughter a great example for the future in terms of this project and the experience of living in an eco-friendly home."

The company behind the project, 3Leafs, has built other homes in Edmonton and has six homes in the works for Edmonton and Calgary.

It's using single-use shipping containers for the build, which otherwise would have joined seven to 10 million others lying unused in shipyards around Canada, said company co-founder Stephen Ezekwem. 

"It's not economical to send them back empty," he said.

Project manager Gary Bagnell has been in construction for 30 years, but this is his first shipping container home.

"I know it doesn't look like much but there's a fair bit involved," he said, adding that he prefers this kind of build to a traditional one.

The home will incorporate smart technology and solar panels, to make it net-zero — meaning it will produce as much energy as it consumes.

Turner says he expects to save about $5,000 a year on heat and electricity costs.

Gary Bagnell is the project manager for the home. (Anis Heydari/CBC)

He said inside the home, there will be portions of exposed sea can walls, but from the outside you'd never know the home was made from reused materials.

"When you drive by the house it'll be very attractive. You won't know that the home is an unconventional type of build," he said.

The home is expected to be finished in April.

With files from Anis Heydari

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